Isle of Palms family portraits

Posted on February 17, 2019


I have been running a word of mouth and repeat clients business for so long, I never update my site or Facebook page anymore.

But my middle daughter Jane job shadowed with me earlier this month, and I let her choose her favorites from any 2018 family portrait session, with the promise that I would blog her favorite images.

She chose a great portrait session! Karmen and Nazar’s was one of the first weddings I photographed. I was so thrilled to meet up with them again, on the beach at Isle of Palms, and meet their stunningly adorable girls. (Those eyes! Those curls!)

It’s funny. I may not remember everyone’s relationship to one another, and I am probably not going to remember anyone’s name, but I love the way that the unique personalities dynamics in each family tend to come right back to me, once I’ve spent a little time with them again. It’s a special form of nostalgia that I feel so lucky to experience.


(Click any image to view full size)

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Charleston birth photography

Posted on June 30, 2017

I’ve added birth documentary photography to my offerings in the past year, and I absolutely love it.
One of my favorite assignments. I love the unobtrusive fly on the wall style that allows me to be present but not in the way, or usually even noticeable, which capturing some of the sweetest, cutest, funniest, most priceless moments in a family’s life together.

I’ve already shared this slideshow on my business Facebook page but wanted to share it here as well.

Sweet Sadie came into the world at MUSC East Cooper amidst style, love, and humor!


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Charleston family beach portraits

Posted on June 8, 2017



It’s family beach photos time again!


Here’s a sampling of Folly Beach, Charleston, and Isle of Palms family beach portraits from last season.

I’ve been photographing some of these families for years, and I love catching up each summer!


My middle school daughter, since school is out for the summer, selected the images for this post.
Best intern ever.
She has a great grasp on my style, and is terrific at choosing images that convey to families what they can expect from a family portrait session with me.
We don’t tend to showcase the more standard, formal, everyone looking at the camera and smiling images, but that doesn’t mean I don’t take them.
Traditional, framed family portraits are valuable and important for posterity. I love the way an upcoming family describes it:
They want fun family candids, but also want a “90’s JC Penney catalog” type portrait of the whole family.
Everyone needs a catalog shot.

She also intuitively abides by the rule we’ve come up with together. “Happy people, real smiles, Mom looks good.”
That’s so important. I want fellow mothers to love, or at least like, the way they look in family portraits.
And if that means selecting a few images and asking me to fluff hair, streamline a midsection (I call it “virtual Spanx”), reduce wrinkles, or whatever,
I’m all about it.

Not because we aren’t already awesome exactly as we are.
But because I understand a bad hair day because someone poured all the conditioner down the drain, or dragged peanut buttery fingers through your bangs, or left you so sleep-deprived that the new orange highlights honestly seemed like an awesome idea at the time.

Been there. I’ve got you!


Happy summertime–

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Charleston twins birth photography

Posted on January 10, 2017


Judah Wilde and Jeremiah Cole should be coming into the world as I type!


I spent a little time with my friend and colleague McBee Photography and her boys Saturday, to document one of their last days as a family of Mom and three boys, to Mom and five boys.
She’s always said she’d like to run a home for boys someday. May not be the way she’d originally envisioned achieving that goal, but she’s making it happen all on her own!
She is such a Superwoman. I was being a bit of a brat and HAD to find an instrumental version of Book of Love (the song sheet on their piano) for their slideshow, and couldn’t find a simple one I liked to purchase. So I texted her and said, “Hey I know you’re a single mother of three and business owner who’s 39 weeks pregnant with twins and all but can you play Book of Love and record it for 3 1/2 minutes? In your spare time tonight?”
And 10 minutes later I got the audio file, with apologies for it being rough.
But it didn’t sound rough to me. It sounded charming and personal and imperfectly perfect.

On pins and needles waiting to hear the news!


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Charleston baby shower

Posted on February 10, 2016



Around this time last year, I photographed the coolest baby shower at Restoration on King in downtown Charleston.

Let’s face it, no one is circling “baby shower” on the calendar and excitedly highlighting it with bright colors and arrows. I love how these days, friends are sure to show their love and excitement for each other, but reinvent time-honored traditions to make them fun for everyone. I knew this was no traditional shindig when the guys rolled in with the Yeti. Now it’s a party!

And the decor was fabulous. The oranges, yellows and and grays were the perfect hues to complement the open loft space. And while the vibe was chic and Lowcountry urban, they didn’t shy away from sweet, whimsical touches. It’s a baby shower, after all!


Well done, friends and family of John and Ashkia. You hit it out of the park.































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While compiling this series of photographs from the past year, I realized that I tend to like my images best when they are whimsical and/or dreamy. It’s hard to define one’s style, but I look back at this collection as well as collections from previous years and a theme is emerging for me. Lighthearted and romantic. Silly and soulful. Goofy and moody.

This explains why I’m obsessed with the dreamy imperfect look of freelensing, but also love to include a folder of outtakes to wedding clients. Why I’m just as likely to obsess over capturing the perfect blue sky and full moon shot as I am capturing the flower girl with a finger up her nose. Why a cinematic beach portrait in silhouette is great, but not necessarily better than snapping a slobbery dog mouth with a tennis ball 10 inches from the lens.

The best part of my job is that “my people” keep finding and trusting in me, year after year, and although I’m admittedly terrible about keeping up with my blog, I’m so excited to share some of the wonderful moments I’ve made, in collaboration with my Charleston clients, over the past year. This selection is from the past couple of months; I hope to share a lot more from the rest of the year.



























































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Charleston garden wedding

Posted on May 14, 2015

Kate and Jonathan were married in the small garden at his mother’s home on Broad Street and took a horse and carriage ride to their reception at the Carolina Yacht Club.

I’ve always been outspoken about my love for weddings at home, so I was thrilled to be there. There’s such a lighthearted, personal feel.

Kate asked for very minimal posed photos and lots of candid moments. I was happy to do that, and their whole crew made it so easy, especially with all the adorable, camera-happy little ones running around!


broad street house charleston sc

white wedding florals charleston

charleston wedding flower girl floral crown

flower girl holding bible

guests at charleston back yard wedding

father walking bride down aisle sun flare

garden wedding broad street charleston

funny ceremony moment charleston sc wedding

charleston flower girls

bride and groom recessional black and white sun flare

charleston sc wedding white bouquet

charleston south of broad wedding flower girls and ring bearer



bride and groom red door portrait

bride and groom portrait charleston wedding

bride by red door

flower girl looking at family photos

wedding guests chatting


ring bearer white knee socks saddle shoes charleston

horse shoes horse drawn wedding carriage charleston farrier

palmetto carriage company charleston sc

bride and groom palmetto carriage wedding

st michaels church steeple at sunset charleston broad street

bride and groom carriage east bay street

bride and groom entering carolina yacht club

staircase old building carolina yacht club

dessert table carolina yacht club wedding

fireplace carolina yacht club wedding

carolina yacht club wedding catering crab legs lemon

carolina yacht club sunset charleston

wedding first dance charleston


wedding guests black tie carolina yacht club

wedding guests slow dance black and white charleston

cute elderly couple

woman smiling wedding reception

laughing wedding guests charleston

light blue wedding koozies charleston

wedding guests laughing

dad carrying flower girl

flower girl drinking shirley temple charleston bartender

black tie charleston wedding guests

wedding dancing charleston

carolina yacht club lights

full moon over charleston harbor with palmetto frond wedding blue

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January for portrait photographers is like summer for teachers.

Preparations, desk work and continuing education are always a priority, but there’s also a little time to creatively meander, and it’s fabulous. Here’s to growth through downtime!

My goal this month is to dust off my film cameras- I don’t think I turned them on my children even once last year.

Dreary days are perfect for moody Holga and twin lens reflex images.

Meanwhile, here’s another collection of unpublished 2014 portraits. Enjoy!


mother and daughter spinning candid portrait


charleston family portrait pineapple fountain

engagement photo dock charleston

grandfather helping grandson ring bearer william aiken house


isle of palms photographer candid family pyramid


folly beach grandparents and grandchildren portrait photographer

charleston waterfront park swings photos


charleston child portraiture

wild dunes child photographer

wild dunes lifestyle photography

prohibition rehearsal dinner

wild dunes candid family portraits


charleston wedding cabell house

charleston engagement session

charleston prohibition engagement photos

charleston couple photographer

isle of palms family portraits


jekyll island club family photos

mount pleasant sc wedding funny ring bearer candid

charleston bridal portrait candid

jekyll island wedding photographer

shem creek

charleston senior portraits casual

isle of palms winter family photos

william aiken house at night


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I get nervous before every shoot.

We all do.

It’s a great thing-it keeps us on our toes. Packing lists to triple-check, meeting someone new, and the generalized anxiety of our responsibility to you and your family. It’s never something we take lightly, going into it.

Yet when I return from a wedding or family session, my husband will joke,


“Let me guess. They were the nicest and most interesting group you’ve ever met.  They were ‘totally precious and you just adored them all’, right?”


Yep. That’s how it always works.

Your hugs, expressions,  inside jokes, even the way you squabble. Each group has a unique fingerprint.

I can’t really explain it, but I think you are ALL the cat’s pajamas.

Some sessions and weddings have been blogged already, and a few weddings are still pending publication elsewhere, but here’s Part One one of a sampling of my 2014 work that I haven’t yet shared:


Sullivans Island family portrait


Charleston white bridal bouquet

candid mother and daughter portrait charleston

boy and mother laughing isle of palms

charleston beach portrait baby in pink


family portrait in charleston sc with catahoula dog

jekyll island child portrait

jekyll island photographer bowtie

coleman hall mount pleasant wedding


william aiken house wedding tree


cottage on the creek shem creek wedding


isle of palms family photographer


kiawah island candid family portraiture sanctuary

isle of palms toddler pink swimsuit

hampton park charleston cousins photos

charleston child portraiture black and white candid

charleston child headshot photographer

isle of palms candid beach photography

coleman hall mount pleasant wedding dress


blue wedding shoes charleston


black and white child portrait charleston


isle of palms family photographer what to wear



magnolia plantation 20's themed wedding

isle of palms winter family portraits




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Folly beach family photos

Posted on September 10, 2014


I met up with adorable Anna and Ian against this year at Folly Beach.

It’s funny. I always notice how much children have grown when I photograph them multiple times, but the difference between almost two year old twins and almost three year old twins is amazing. They were talking! And walking around like they owned the place! Crazy.

As we were making our way to the Morris Island Lighthouse overlook, we noticed smoke coming from the forested area between the lane and the beach.

Really, quite a lot of smoke. And popping noises.

Fascinating and a smidge frightening, but they were dressed and we were halfway there, so no turning back.

After we played on the beach for about 45 minutes, all the while hearing sirens and seeing the smoke steadily crawl the sky like a charcoal predator, we walked back and encountered the fire truck and and other bystanders.

Apparently someone drove onto the beach, started doing doughnuts in the sand, and flipped up onto the dunes, catching his engine on fire. This is why we can’t have nice things.

Thankfully, no one was hurt. But it’s a photo shoot none of us will soon forget.

Thanks, FBFD!


twins in clemson blue and orange

folly beach labor day fire

charleston photos mother and son family photo morris island lighthouse

family photo morris island lighthouse

D7C D7C D7C folly beach oyster

charleston family photographer boy and grandfather

charleston portrait grandparents and grandchildren

toddler twins boy and girl

charleston beach rocks twins

charleston candid photograph father and daughter

folly beach fire department

folly beach lighthouse road

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copyright 2014 Sally Watts